Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spicy Tofu Bento Bowl

Made this tonight for our weekly vegetarian dinner and it was so delicious I had to share.  Vegetarian Times Magazine.

Spicy Tofu:
1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c chile-garlic sauce
2 Tbs. dark sesame oil
14 oz extra firm tofu ( I cubed it and let it drain on kitchen towel all day)
5 green onions, finely choppped
1/4 c plain yogurt
2 Tbs. lemon juice

1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger ( I opted to grate vs. mince)
1 tsp. chile garlic sauce
cooked brown rice
mixed baby greens
carrot (optional)
cucumber, seeded and choppped (optional)
avocado, peeled and sliced (optional)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Spicy Tofu: Whisk together the soy sauce, chile, and sesame oil in bowl.  Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Dip tofu in soy sauce mixture and place into oil.  Fry until nice and golden brown.  Cool the tofu.
Mix the onions, yogurt, and lemon juice in remaining soy-chile mixture.  Toss with tofu.

Make Salad:  Whisk the soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, and chile sauce in bowl or mason jar.
Place dressing on bottom of bowl.
Mound the rice on top.
Top with greens.
Shave carrot strips over top with peeler. (optional)
Top with tofu.
Top with cucumber and avocado. (optional)
Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  (optional)


Sunday, November 1, 2009

My bread

This gorgeous bread was made using the book My bread by Jim Lahey with Rick Flaste.  Lahey is the founder of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York.

Of all of the methods for cooking bread, I have to say that Lahey has turned me into a dutch oven believer.  The crust is bubbly and chewy, and the crumb is custardy and moist which is a nice contrast to the crust.  I love bread.

Thanks for starting me on this path Ethan.  I love it and hate how much I do.

Homework assignment #3

Finally completed my homework for the Seasonal Table.  Love this class and will be sad when I won't be able to sign up for it.  Maybe I'll sign up using Ryan's info?  I decided to make pizza, cake, and frosting from the book for vege Wednesdays and to celebrate Erica's birthday.  I decided not to post the recipes, but instead just tell you what pages they can be found in and what we all thought of it. The picture used was actually the cake with some mascarpone - espresso filling, vanilla ice cream, and a homemade marshmallow "ghoul."

Pizza dough page 60
Chocolate cake page 370 - 371
Simple frosting page 386

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Artisan Bread

I bought a new bread book entitled Artisan Baking by Maggie Glezer.  I love this book.  It's a little more work than the bread from 5 minutes a day but really tasty.  I've made some focaccia and a boule so far, and have started my sourdough starter without yeast, thank you very much, with her help.  A great buy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fresh - Pickled Vegetables / Assignment # 2

I really enjoy pickles, so when I saw this I thought I would give it a try.  This is assignment # 2 for Seasonal Table.  Please read the comments to see what other people thought.

1 1/2 c white wine vinegar
1 3/4 c water
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 bay leaf
4 thyme sprigs
Half a dried cayenne pepper or a pinch of dried chile flakes
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 whole cloves
1 garlic clove peeled and cut in half
A big pinch of salt

Bring the brine to a boil in a non-reactive sauce pan.  Add the veges that you would like to pickle into the brine and cook until they are done but still crunchy.

* I actually decided to pickle some green beans and squash.  I steamed the green beans for 2 min and placed them in an ice bath for 2 min.  I prepped the squash by placing it in a colander with some salt for 1 hour then added it to the jar. *

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pappardelle with Mushroom Ragu sauce / Assignment #1

This is a recipe from Alice Waters' cookbook The Art of Simple food. I really admire what Ms. Waters has done to revolutionize the way Americans think about food, however, I would not recommend this cookbook to others. I don't like the format she uses to write her recipes and find that some of the recipes I've made from the book are bland and uninspired. You definitely have to know your way around the kitchen to "doctor" some of them up. Having said that I made this meal because it is homework for my cooking class, the Seasonal Table at COS with Debb Campbell.

I made this for our vegetarian Wednesday feast with the usual suspects and asked that they give their honest feedback on the dinner. I served the pappardelle with a homemade European peasant loaf, a simple green salad, some of Ethan's amazing homemade beer, and some cab sav. For dessert I made a pear sherbert. I did my best to not modify the recipes but when I did I make note. Please read the comments to see what everyone thought.

Fresh Pasta page 89

2 C flour (I assumed all purpose since she didn't specify)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

In a bowl add the measured flour. Make a well and pour in the eggs. Mix with a fork, as though scrambling eggs, incorporating the flour bit by bit. When the flour becomes too stiff to mix with fork, finish the mixing by hand. Knead lightly on a floured surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Let rest at least an hour before serving.
* I kneaded the dough about 10 min even though she did not mention this. I've played buffet before, sort of speak, and KNOW that pasta has to be kneaded a while to make it pliable enough to pass through the pasta machine.*

Roll out by hand our by using a machine. Go to pappardelle section for further instructions.
*I actually just put the noodles into my dehydrator at 150 degrees for about 3 hours. I like a pasta with some bite and not so gummy.*

Mushroom Ragu sauce page 228

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced fine
1 large carrot, peeled and diced fine
2 celery stalks, diced fine
6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked from the stems
6 parsley sprigs, leaves only, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 c diced tomatoes
2 Lbs mushrooms ( choose a mixture of 2 or 3 types such as chantrelles, black trumpets, hedgehogs, brown or white button)
Olive oil and a little butter
1/2 c cream or creme fraiche
1 c water or chicken broth

In a large, heavy skillet heat the 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion, carrot, celery, and salt. Cook over medium heat, until very tender. When cooked through, with no crunch but with little or no browning add the thyme, pasley, and bay leaf. Cook for 1 min. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 min. Set aside.

Carefully clean and slice the mushrooms. If the mushrooms are very dirty, it may be necessary to wash them. Prepare a skillet and cook each mushroom type of mushroom individually. As they cook, the mushrooms will give off liquid; let the juices boil away or tip of the juices and set them aside. Cook mushrooms until they are lightly browned. Turn the mushrooms over onto a cutting board and chop to the size of the cooked veges.

Combine the vege mix and mushrooms in a skillet and add the cream and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 min. Taste for salt and add as needed. Moisten with more liquid if too thick.

*I used dried mushrooms that I ordered through Oregon mushrooms.
I reconstituted the chantrelle, black trumpet, and hedgehog mushrooms by adding 1 c of boiling water to 1 oz of dried mushrooms. I weighed the mushrooms to be sure everything was accurate. I kept them separate and put each in the fridge overnight. I saved the soaking liquid and substituted the broth with it, which gave the sauce a really intense mushroom flavor. I also added fresh criminis to make the 2 lbs. I chopped the mushrooms fine before I cooked them, so that saved me a step.*

Pappardelle with Bolognese Sauce pages 266-267

1 recipe Fresh Pasta
2 to 3 oz Parmesan grated (about 1/2 c)
2 c Bolognese Sauce (sub was Mushroom Ragu as recommended in book)
2 to 3 Tbsp butter ( I used unsalted)
1 Tbsp chopped parsley

Cut pasta into 3/4" wide noodles. Toss the noodles with extra flour and lay them out on plate or baking sheet, cover them with a towel, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small saucepan warm the Mushroom Ragu sauce.

Cook the noodles in the boiling water for 3 or 4 min, until al dente. While the noodles are cooking, melt the butter in a large saute pan. Turn off the heat. Drain the noodles, reserving a small amount of the hot pasta water. Put the noodles into the warm pan with the butter and toss with two thirds of the parmesan and some salt.

Moisten with a bit of pasta water if needed. Divide the noodles among 4 pasta bowls or place on a warm platter. Spoon the sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and the parsley. Serve immediately.

Pear Sherbert page 375

6 to 8 ripe pears (about 3 lbs)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1/3 c sugar
1 egg white

Place the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of sugar in a bowl. Working with one pear at a time peel, quarter and core the pear; place into bowl and toss with lemon and sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining pears.

Add the remaining sugar and egg white to the pears. Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and correct the seasoning with lemon juice or sugar. You should be able to taste both sweet and tart. Freeze right away in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
* I did not add the 1/3 c sugar because one of my guests is sensitive to sugar. Instead I added 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar to egg white to help stabilize it. I blended these two together first before adding the pears, and then I proceeded with the recipe.*

Assignment #1 done. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Five minutes a day

I love the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day; The discovery that revolutionizes home baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois; I've been making delicious bread with this book. Ethan's advice was invaluable too and I truly appreciate his input. From beautiful and delicious bread to pizza, there is nothing you won't love from this book. The pics are of the European peasant dough in bread form and pizza form. Absolutely fabulous.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vegan Indian Dosas

Ethan hipped to the Daring Kitchen and I've wanted to do it for a very long time. The problem is that it's hard for me to navigate their website and to get organized enough to actually log in when I'm supposed to. I still want to become a better cook and baker, so I will make the recipes once they've been archived, while still respecting their posting rules. This way I get to challenge myself without being forced to make things I don't want, and having to revolve my life around their dates.

This was really good and fairly easy to make, although the recipe looks intimidating. We used the left over sauce the very next night, put some sauteed veges in it and had a delicious dinner again.

This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling, and the sauce. It does take awhile to make, but the filling and sauce can be made ahead and frozen if need be. You can serve them as a main course with rice and veggies, or as an appetizer. This does take a little planning ahead, so make sure you read the recipe through before starting.

Serves 4
Equipment needed:
large bowl
griddle or skillet
ladle (or large spoon)
vegetable peeler &/or knife
large saucepan
food processor or bean masher

Dosa Pancakes
1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)
½ tsp (2½ gm) salt
½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder
½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder
½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water
cooking spray, if needed

Dosa Filling
1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated
Dosa Toppings
1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated
¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut
¼ cucumber, sliced
Dosa Pancakes

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.
3. Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.

Curried Garbanzo Filling
This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don't be afraid to make a full batch.
5 cloves garlic
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced ( I used seeded jalapenos here instead)
2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground
1 TBSP (8gm) oregano
1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)
1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric
4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.
2. Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

Coconut Curry Sauce

This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though.
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground
¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)
3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder
3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)
3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth
2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced

1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.
2. Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3. Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4. Let it simmer for half an hour.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tres Leches Cake

Made this for my dad's birthday. We had him over for lunch and birthday cake. I love tres leches cake and this is truly the most ridiculous version. It's out of this world. From Sunset May 2007. Will definitely be making when brothers visit for Thanksgiving.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blue Cheese Dressing

I wanted to blog this just in case I lost the recipe. It was great on a salad, but I suppose would also be great with buffalo wings. In any case.....

1 Tbsp hot bacon fat (I omitted this for R)
1/2 c sour cream
3 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 scallion, chopped
2/3 c crumbled blue cheese

Whisk bacon fat, sour cream, milk, vinegar, salt, and pepper until smooth. Stir in the scallion and the blue cheese. Thin with additional milk if desired.

Home made Feta II

Well, here is the recipe for homemade feta. Although I had originally wanted to do a taste and texture comparison between raw and conventional milk, I decided that I didn't need to know. I love that we use raw milk and the cheese was superb. The salty and briny flavor of this feta is balanced by the silky texture of the cheese. It's quite wonderful. The nice thing about this recipe is that you use milk vs. goat's milk which keeps the cost down once you've gotten your supplies. Hope you will try it and give me some updates, especially if you're using conventional milk. We'll set up a taste test and see how they are different. As always, only use pasteurized milk not ultra-pasteurized. I would not recommend making cheese with raw milk unless you are 100% confident with your farmer and do not assume any liability should things go south. Enjoy.

Also, a link to a great thermometer for accuracy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homemade Feta

I'll have to try it to make sure that it doesn't kill anyone. Keep you posted. Not made with goat's milk which makes this REALLY cost effective. This first batch was made with raw milk, but I will make some feta with pasteurized milk to see which one has the better texture. I'll let you know, but I suspect the raw milk will win. Check back to see what happens.

Organic Pickled Grapes

What could be better than sweet and briny goodness?

1 c white balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe's is a great resource)
2/3 c sugar
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp whole allspice berries
1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 c red seedless organic grapes

In a saucepan combine all the ingredients except for grapes. "Cook" until all of the sugar and salt is dissolved.

Meanwhile, place the grapes into a glass container. Pour the vinegar mixture over the top and cover. Refrigerate overnight. Will store up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quick Pickles

I really love pickles and made some this weekend with the help of food and wine. They are delicious and very easy to make.

Spicy Dill Quick Pickles

*For each 1 qt jar, use 12 oz of veges*
Before pickling do:
Asparagus - blanch 1 min and cool
Broccoli stems - peel and cut into sticks

Carrots - cut into sticks; blanch 2 min and cool
Cauliflower florets - blanch 1 min and cool
Green beans - steam 2 min and cool

Cucumbers - quarter or thinly slice

*12 oz Veges (see above)*
3 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 c distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
6 large garlic cloves, halved
4 to 6 long red or green hot chilies, halved lengthwise
16 dill sprigs

Pack veges into 2 clean 1 qt glass jars; also add 3 of the cloves to each, 1 Tbsp of the coriander seeds, 8 sprigs of dill, and tuck 2 to 3 of the halved chilies in between the veges. In a separate jar combine the salt, sugar, and vinegar. Shake until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add 2 c water and pour the brine over the veges. Add enough water to keep the veges submerged. Close the jars and refrigerate overnight or for up to 1 month.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Home Made Corn Meal

I wanted to make homemade corn meal for a while. I thought it would be simple enough and decided to do it without doing any online research. It's easy enough to make using some pretty basic supplies.

I started out by scraping the kernels from about 8 ears. I also scraped the pulp and put them onto my dehydrating trays. I dehydrated the kernels overnight at 105 degrees. The kernels seemed pretty dry so I processed them in the food processor only to find that there was still a lot of moisture. That's when I went online.

So, ideally you should dry the kernels still on the cob. Round 1 goes to the Internet, oops. Then once the kernels are dried it's best to use a grain mill to grind the corn into meal. The grinders are not expensive (I found a nicely reviewed one on Amazon for about $ 30), but I had already started down this path. I decided to continue taking the crazy train.

I lined my dehydrator panel with some parchment paper so I wouldn't lose any kernels and dehydrated them again at 105 degrees overnight again. SUCCESS! I ground the corn once again using my blender this time because it seems to do a better job than the processor. I got a nice meal that I used to make polenta for dinner. It made about 1 and 3/4 c of meal. I could also have used it to make cornbread, but I didn't. I'm still not a super fan of the consistency of polenta, but this polenta was truly delicious and it was really rewarding to know that I was able to do it. I may break down and buy the grain mill (yeah another gadget) knowing that I'll actually use it.

I just wanted to share because it made me feel accomplished. I think I'll just skip to step #2 next time and just start with mashed corn kernels. If you buy the corn I can always make you some meal.

1 Tbsp coarse salt
2 bay leaves
1 2/3 c coarse cornmeal (white or yellow; best if homemade)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Put 7 cups of cold water, salt, and bay leaves into a medium heavy bottomed pan. Stir in cornmeal.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then add oil. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until polenta thickens and pulls away from the bottom and sides of pot, 30 to 40 min. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaves.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gadget whore

Well, as some of you may know I like to dehydrate food. I've dehydrated strawberries, cherries, apples, apricots, and peaches to name a few. Until recently I was using an Aroma brand dehydrator and after that broke I moved onto the Ronco that my mother in law gave me, until of coarse that one failed as well. I went online and researched and found Excalibur dehydrators.

I LOVE IT! Aside from being able to do my fruits I am now able to make jerky (I'm experimenting with tofu jerky as I write), raise bread, make yogurt, and fruit roll ups. It's awesome and the drying time is a fraction of what it was before. For out next book club, since it's Indian themed, I am planning on making curried mango jerky or fruit roll ups. My only complaint is that it is SO BIG. It cannibalizes so much of my counter space.

I was planning on learning how to can and to have a canning party with Ethan, but I think that I just won't go down that road. I've been reading some raw food blogs and they recommend dehydrating at 105 degrees in order to preserve the food and it's nutrients and enzymes. Canning doesn't seem to be in my future any time soon. I'll keep you posted about the dehydrator especially once the tomatoes start making their debut.

Extra sour - sour dough

I shared the cheese recipe so I thought I would share the bread that we find is a perfect companion. This also makes great cheese toast. I feed my starter every friday, so if you get a container to me by Thursday you could be baking this soon.

1 c "fed" sourdough starter
1 1/2 c lukewarm water
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
5 c all purpose flour

Pour the starter into a large mixing bowl and add the water with 3 c of flour. Beat vigorously. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest at cool room temp. (68 to 70 degrees) for 4 hours.

Then refrigerate overnight, or about 12 hours.

Add the remaining ingredients, kneading to form a smooth, soft dough. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, adn let it rise for about 5 hours.

Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 loaves ( I shape mine into rounds). Place onto a baking sheet, cover, and let it rise till doubled 2 to 3 hours.

Slash the tops and bake in pre-heated oven of 425 degrees for 30 min or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Cheese is Heaven!

I've been inspired lately (by Ethan mostly) and decided that I would start making our own cheese. So far I've made mozzarella, lemon cheese, and ricotta. Once my cultures and cheese press get here I will be making queso fresco, Gorgonzola, and cheddar among a few. It's really easy and we all love it. I've included the recipe for the easy version, which incidentally enough I made at my cooking class. We love it the best on some homemade sourdough bread with alaea finishing salt and some lemon zest.

Whole Milk Ricotta
1 gallon whole milk ( I use Raw Milk of course. In a pinch I use 1/2 gal raw milk and 1/2 gal whole; also be sure that it is pasteurized and not ultra-pasteurized.
1 tsp citric acid
1/4 c cool water (bottled water not from tap)
1 tsp salt, optional (cheese salt, however I use sel gris)
1-2 tbsp heavy cream (not needed if you are using raw milk, but highly recommended if using regular pasteurized milk.)

Add the citric acid into the water and stir until dissolved. Add this to your pot along with the salt and milk and mix thoroughly.

Heat the milk to 185 - 195 degrees (do not boil) . I have looked at my cheese log and found that I am most satisfied when my milk reaches 190 degrees. Stir often to prevent scorching.

As soon as the curds and whey separate (make sure whey is not milky), turn off the heat and leave undisturbed for 10 min. Be warned that if using Raw milk you won't see the curds until you let it rest, so don't panic.

Line a colander with butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the muslin; once all curds are in tie the corners of muslin in knot and hang the bag to drain for 20 to 30 min (for raw milk ricotta you may need to leave undisturbed for 1 hour or more). The cheese is ready to eat once it is drained. For a creamier consistency, add the cream at the end and mix thoroughly.

Store in a covered container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Enjoy

We're Locavores

Ryan and I decided to become localvores this year. We are doing our best to get all of our food from the farmers market, a csa, and if we must go to the store, only purchase local products. This will mean a lot of extra work in food preparation, but this is a choice that we're willing to deal with. We are in a csa (community sustained agriculture) co-op and we got our first "box" this last Friday. Although we couldn't eat from it on Friday and Saturday, I did make soup on Sunday with some of the veges, and we're having soup and steamed artichokes for lunch/ dinner tonight. We really love abundant harvest organics and hope that some of you will decide to join. If you would like more information on our decision please visit their website at:
We'll let you know how it goes. So far our favorites are the raw milk, raw cream, organic butter, the veges of course, and the organic pistachios. It's a good way to ease some of the strain on the environment and get really nourishing food in our bodies.